With November being the last month of autumn in the UK and the festive season just around the corner, there are plenty of fun ways to make lasting memories over the next few weeks.
From food and drinks festivals to celebrations of film, music, and literature, here are 11 things to do and places to visit in the UK this November.
1. Immerse yourself in film at Leeds International Film Festival, West Yorkshire
The world’s first moving images were filmed in Leeds in 1888 by Louis le Prince, and today the city is a major centre for European film production and exhibition.
It makes sense then, that the Leeds International Film Festival (LIFF) is the UK’s leading annual film event. Primarily supporting the work of new filmmakers from the UK and abroad, over 78 countries were represented at the festival in 2022, and the 2023 version is promised to be the best yet.
With an extensive, diverse, and exciting programme of films shown across multiple venues over 17 days, there’s plenty to see. Highlights include the festival opening night film, Poor Things, featuring Emma Stone.
2. Step back in time at the Crown and Coronation light show, London
This November, a beautiful and immersive light and sound show, Crown and Coronation, will be held at the Tower of London before it begins its UK wide tour in 2024.
Historic Royal Palaces have partnered with Luxmaralis Artist Collaboration to deliver a fantastic show that celebrates the spectacle and significance of the Crown Jewels and coronation ceremonies throughout British history.
Using stunning imagery projected onto the Tower of London’s famous walls, this unique show will bring British royal history to life –from William the Conqueror to Queen Victoria – like never before. After the show, guests can enjoy special access to the Crown Jewels, without the typical crowds.
The Crown and Coronation Show at the Tower of London will run for nine nights between the 17th and 25th November 2023.
3. Enjoy delicious treats and learn new culinary skills at BBC Good Food Show, Birmingham
The ever-popular BBC Good Food Show Winter is set to return to Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre between the 23rd and 26th November 2023.
Set in a winter wonderland of lights and festivities, expect appearances from some of your favourite chefs and culinary masters, including The Hairy Bikers, Nadiya Hussain, James Martin, Lisa Faulkner, Michel Roux, and many more!
Take a seat in the Wild Kitchen to discover delicious alternatives to traditional Christmas meats; tune into one of many exciting workshops to learn how to make various winter treats; or start your Christmas shopping early at some of the gorgeous stalls. But, don’t forget to head over to the show’s main highlight, The Big Kitchen, where the very best celebrity chefs will be cooking tasty dishes live on stage.
You can check out the full line-up on BBC Good Food Winter Show’s website.
4. Connect with the great outdoors at Kendal Mountain Festival, Cumbria
If you fancy some adventure this November, why not head to Kendal Mountain Festival in Cumbria?
As the UK’s biggest adventure festival, Kendal Mountain Festival is the ultimate social gathering for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s held annually in November in Kendal, on the edge of the Lake District, and is founded on the belief that inspiring and enabling people to access the great outdoors makes the world a better place.
Through a series of films and events, Kendal Mountain Festival aims to inspire more people to explore, respect, and represent the mountains and wilderness. Highlights include community walks, guided runs, outdoor swimming sessions, and inspiring talks on how we can rewild the world.
Attracting climbers, runners, skiers, paddlers, and everyone in between, it’s the ideal destination for anyone wanting to connect with and explore Cumbria’s breathtaking landscape. This year, the festival moves into its fifth decade and will take place from the 16th to 19th of November.
5. Sip on some spirits at Scotland’s favourite gin festival, Glasgow
If you’re looking for a spirited day out this November, why not visit Scotland’s favourite craft gin festival?
Winner of Best Gin Event, the Gin To My Tonic Show is a treasure trove of spirits. Once again hitting the streets of Glasgow, this year’s show is set to be bigger, better, and more immersive than ever before. Guests can enjoy unlimited samples of over 250 craft gins and spirits – and while gin is the focus here, there’ll also be vodka, rum, whisky, tequila, and much more.
Stroll past the 50+ distillery and mixer brand stalls to learn about the backstories, production methods, and tasting notes of your favourite spirits. Or get hands-on at one of the immersive cocktail-making workshops and masterclasses hosted by leading spirit brands.
This year, the Glasgow Gin To My Tonic Show will take place from the 3rd to 5th of November.
If Glasgow is too far for you, the Gin To My Tonic Show will also be visiting Manchester and Swindon this month.
6. Celebrate Bonfire Night, UK-wide
Nothing has more of a November feel to it than standing in a crowd around a bonfire, wrapped up in layers, gazing up at a sky lit by fireworks.
The good news is that if you want to “remember remember the fifth of November” this year, there’s plenty of fun events taking place across the UK.
As the rhyme suggests, Britons have held bonfires and firework displays every year on 5th November to mark the 1605 Gunpowder Plot. The plot was a failed attempt to establish Catholic rule in England by blowing up the Houses of Parliament and Protestant King James I.
Celebrations for Bonfire Night take place across the UK, with some of the most popular displays including Alton Towers Ultimate Fireworks Spectacular, Kenilworth Round Table Fireworks Spectacular, and Himley Bonfire and Glasgow North East Firework Display. To find out what’s happening near you, check out this list of the best Bonfire Night and firework displays across the UK from Radio Times.
You might also be interested in booking tickets to The Gunpowder Plot immersive experience held at the Tower of London, where, through live action and virtual reality, you’ll become part of the Gunpowder Plot yourself.
7. Celebrate the written and spoken word at Chester Literature Festival, Cheshire
If you love all things literature, you’ll want to check out Chester’s Literature Festival this November.
Expect 18 fun-filled days of talks, performances, workshops, and events celebrating the written and spoken word – from literature and poetry, to stage,screen, and much more!
Attend talks from special guests including Monty Don, Melanie Sykes, David Olusoga, and Simon Armitage. You can also learn how to write your own book at one of the workshops, or get stuck in at one of the poetry pub crawls and open mic nights. Check out the full lineup on the Storyhouse website.
Chester Literature Festival will take place from 9th to 26th November 2023.
8. Enjoy classical music at Bath Mozartfest, Somerset
Bath Mozartfest was created in 1991 thanks to a generous donation made by Mrs Mary Purnell, whose late son Mark adored the music of Mozart and the City of Bath.
Each November, this annual festival presents some of the finest displays of classical music, performed by world-renowned artists. And the spectacular surroundings of Bath and its historic buildings add to the atmosphere and make it a night to remember.
This year, Mozartfest will take place from 10th to 18th November. Performers include Elizabeth Watts, Adrian Brendel, and the Barcelona-based Cuarteto Casals – and there’s also an opening night supper event which gives festival-goers an informal opportunity to meet fellow Mozart-lovers. You can read a full-line up on the Bath Mozartfest website.
9. Get involved with St Andrews Day celebrations, Scotland
Every year, Scots come together to celebrate their patron saint, St Andrew. St Andrews Day falls on 30th November is an opportunity for Scots to celebrate their national identity, with a range of fantastic events showcasing the very best of Scottish culture.
Edinburgh will see live performances of soulful music from the Blazin Fiddles; and in Glasgow, you can enjoy an evening of traditional Scottish food and drink at Mharsanta bar and restaurant.
To get more inspiration for ways to celebrate St Andrew’s Day this year, head over to the Awareness Days website.
10. Step into the pages of your favourite childhood tales at Longleat’s Festival of Light, Wiltshire
If you’re ready to get in the festive spirit this November, you might want to plan a trip to Longleat Safari Park’s Festival of Light. Voted the UK’s original and best lantern experience, Longleat’s Festival of Light returns for another year, with more life-size lanterns than ever before.
This year’s festival theme is Treasured Tales, and you’re invited to step into the pages of some of the nation’s most treasured stories, including Cinderella, Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz, Winnie the Pooh, and C.S Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
As you wander along the trail, you can marvel at the spectacular artistry of over 1,500 bespoke lanterns towering over you after every turn – some reach over 15 metres high!
The Festival of Light will run on selected dates between 11th November and 7th January 2024.
11. Get your groove on at the London Jazz Festival, London
If you’re a fan of jazz music, you might like to head to the London Jazz Festival this year. Held annually in November, it’s the capital’s largest multi-venue music festival, and has become acclaimed for showcasing an excellent mix of jazz talent from around the world.
This year, the lineup includes 300 shows covering more than 70 venues across London, including the Barbican and the Royal Festival Hall – as well as smaller jazz clubs like Ronnie Scott’s and the Vortex Jazz Club.
Head over to experience 10 days of fantastic live performances, exciting collaborations, and a buzzing atmosphere. Special guests include Emeli Sande, Judi Jackson, Marcus Miller, and Camilla George. Check out the full lineup on the London Jazz Festival website.
The London Jazz Festival will take place from 10th to 19th November 2023.
November marks the beginning of the festive season, and there’s plenty of fun to be had this month. But if you’re not in a Christmassy mood, there are many other activities to enjoy too – from fantastic music events to film and literature festivals.
If you’d like some more ideas for things to do this month, head over to the art and culture and travel sections of our website. Here, you’ll find everything from popular days out in the UK to inspiration for the best historical sites to explore.
Which of these places and events spark your interest this November? What exciting plans have you got coming up? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.